Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Sunday Afternoon of the Year

Photo by Mary Liz Austin of Vashon. I don't know her, but I sure like this picture of a summer sunset from the island.
We’re coasting into late summer. I figure that after the Strawberry Festival, there are a few weeks left of wearing shorts and tank tops and going to the beach, but you might as well acknowledge that fall is coming.
Not this year, maybe. Between El Nino and Climate Change it seems that the climate of Central California has moved here. I can’t decide if it makes me less or more homesick for California, “the Golden State,” as it calls itself. It was only after I lived here a few years and went back to visit the state of my birth that I realized that all that gold was grass that hadn’t had any water lately.
Now California is the “Parched as Beef Jerky State.”(Motto: “When we get dehydrated, we elect Jerry Brown.”) I’ll be going down there in September for my 50-year high school reunion, so I’ll get to see their drought up close then.
I hear that we are suffering from a drought here in Washington, also. I reckon it’s true because I had to start watering my yard in early May, and have had to keep it up every other day or so all summer. For most of the years I have lived here I didn’t have to water the garden until sometime in July. This having to water for months instead of weeks has me thinking of planting truly drought-tolerant plants, as in, if I don’t water for five days, they’ll still be alive. I’m open to suggestions for possible plants.
In France, I’ve heard, everyone goes on vacation for the month of August. I always thought everybody saying to heck with work for a month was a great idea. It has never caught on in this country, and would be a tough sell – God forbid any American should find something preferable to WORK – but August is a popular month for our vacations, as well. The kids have all been to camp and had their swimming lessons and there is a lull before everyone gears up in September for going back to school or away to college or simply concentrating more on the job because summer is over. We fill this slack time with vacations, or we stay home to paint the house or some other chore we think we can do in our vacation time because we are workaholic boneheads.
August is like a month long Sunday afternoon, rather drowsy and directionless if left to itself. You could read, or take a nap, or take a nice drive somewhere in your solar oven/crossover SUV, go camping or hiking, or visit Disneyland or some other entertainment mecca if you’re the kind who likes or needs to be entertained, or (sigh) you could paint the house or do repairs or mend all the old jeans or otherwise be virtuous and productive.
Americans like to be virtuous and productive, most of them. I consider it a shortcoming in the national character. I think if you get time off and spend it working you have missed the point.
Although, if you’re having fun doing the work, I suppose that’s not so bad. I am enjoying cleaning paper clutter out of my house, for example.
My idea of a great August is swimming, napping, and sitting around a fire (real or electronic – c’mon, you know I’m not the “I never watch TV” type) in the evening, then tucking into the nice clean line-dried sheets of my own bed and reading a romance or mystery novel. Ah.
I did not reference mosquitoes in that paragraph because they are pests that infringe upon the romantic dream, nor do I mention that those line-dried sheets had to be laundered and hung up by yours truly. Laundry and mosquitoes, both tedious and persistent in August. Hey, nothing’s perfect.
I hope you are enjoying this slightly imperfect August. I hope you get to be a little lazy, and feel guilt-free if you’re doing absolutely nothing. I hope you smile, and relax, and feel how much you are loved and how important you are to this imperfect world, and how wonderful it is to be living your imperfect life. Take it easy, because if August is the Sunday afternoon of the year, September is the Monday morning, and we don’t need to be in a hurry to get there, do we?
I thought not. Peace, you all, and resist that urge to do something useful.

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